Under the Cover


I’m trying to stop being who I’m not. I’ve spent so long holding back the emotions and wearing the stone mask that I struggle to allow my feelings to release.

I can feel them – I can feel them stronger than ever before: the anger, pain, the tears forming, burning behind my eyes, my hands start to sweat and my body tenses up but I can’t allow them to show.

I wouldn’t say I don’t know how, I know how, at least I think I do, but for me to relax and really let everything flow out… I don’t know, would I class myself as a failure? I don’t think so: embarrassed, ashamed, scared, maybe its a bit of everything. I can’t pin point the feeling I have that prevents me from releasing the tension in my body that’s built up over the last 10 years. Maybe I think I need to be strong for my family, my husband or even myself.

I’ve shut out the world and people within it, I’ve put up a shield and mask so that people can’t get close. I’m fed up with being used and giving when all they do is take, take, take. I used to be naïve, quiet, very compassionate, loving, kind, gentle, caring, full of empathy and giving all. I give everything to my friends, I’ll sit by your side and listen to your troubles, chat and laugh, lend you a helping hand when things get hard and all I expect in return is a similar kind of friendship – someone who cares about how I feel and makes an effort once in a while to make contact. Reciprocity! I’m still all of those things, but I’ve added a layer of hardness to compensate for the crap I’ve dealt with.

Recently, when our son was diagnosed with Autism, I started to step back, I couldn’t continue being the hard person anymore, yet I haven’t been able to drop that mask. I’ve allowed one person to get relatively close to that layer, slowly they are thinning it out and they’ve started to make me see – unintentionally and unknowingly – that I shouldn’t hide who I am or what I was, I should go back to being the softer person who allows people in. It’s only as I’m getting older, that I’m starting to understand the different types of friendships we form; not all are a close knit bonds, some are close, others distant and casual. We shouldn’t expect too much from them, which is where I’ve failed – I’ve always expected friends to be like me!

I seem to have gone off at a tangent, but its all relevant and it all interlinks – the reasons why I hold my mask is to stop others hurting me and me them. Over time this has made it harder for me to release my emotions and allow others to see the softer side. It won’t make me weaker but I’m not sure how long I’ll have to wait before I really feel comfortable letting others in and the real me back out.

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